xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Anne Arundel finds speeding problem on Lothian road, community asks for study on health effects of truck traffic

This sign at SandyFill Reclamation in Lothian asks driver's bringing material there to respect the rules of the road and the neighborhood. - Original Credit:
This sign at SandyFill Reclamation in Lothian asks driver's bringing material there to respect the rules of the road and the neighborhood. - Original Credit: (Courtesy / HANDOUT)

A recent Anne Arundel County traffic study found that vehicles on Sands Road in Lothian are speeding, and the county plans to make changes to signs in hopes of slowing drivers down.

Celestine Brown and Tracy Garrett say that traffic has been getting more intense along Sands Road in Lothian and Harwood since 2015, based on their years of living in the community.

Advertisement

“The volume of trucks and speed of trucks has been exponentially worse,” Garrett said.

Garrett and Brown, along with Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman, are asking the county to take a closer look at the Lothian and Harwood area, and what cumulative effect the operation of multiple landfills and mines, and associated vehicles on the roadway, could have on the community’s overall health.

Advertisement

Chief of Traffic Engineering Nestor Flores said his department was contacted last year and initially set out to see if large trucks were traveling through the community, passing it by on their way to a different destination. They were worried trucks were using Sands Road as a cut-through, which would be against the law, but that wasn’t the case, Flores said, the trucks are destined for facilities along the roadway, which is allowed.

The study found that speeding is a problem along that stretch of road, where more than 2,000 vehicles travel daily.

The posted speed on Sands Road is 35 miles per hour. The prevailing speed of all vehicles — the speed at which 85% of people are driving — was as high as 57 miles per hour at one location, according to the report, high enough to prompt intervention by the county.

The prevailing speed of trucks was lower than the overall prevailing speed — the highest was 47 miles per hour at Sands Road and Burton River Road.

The county will look at what it can do now within its operating budget to address speed, such as checking the spacing of speed signs and making sure appropriate painting is on the roadway.

“There is a history of vehicles running off the road, we need to make sure we have the proper pavement markings,” he said.

Another option could be a sign that warns drivers of their speed and the speed limit.

Chris Garraway at SandyFill Reclamation said they do a few different things to educate the independent truck drivers who visit their facility about the speed on the road to their site, where they accept dirt, mud, concrete, asphalt and other construction waste. He said they have signs about speed posted for drivers to read as they leave the facility, and he has banned drivers from his facility for not respecting the limit.

“I do hand outs, to reiterate that I need them to be conscious of the neighborhood,” Garraway said.

Officials at Westport Reclamation and Riddle Sand and Gravel said they also educate drivers about speed and safety.

Anne Arundel County Environmental Policy Adviser Matt Johnston said officials are hoping Garrett, Brown and Tutman will present their broader concerns about the amount of traffic on Sands Road corridor at the next scheduled Citizens Environment Commission meeting. The commission has not yet met during the pandemic.

Tutman said one question he wants to answer is how truck traffic on Sands Road compares to other parts of the county. The Maryland Department of Transportation published a report on average daily truck traffic in 2019, but measurements weren’t taken on Sands Road. On Davidsonville Road south of Route 50, 5% of traffic is from single-unit trucks like dump trucks and less than 1% is from combination trucks like tractor trailers.

Advertisement

The recent county study found that about 13% of the traffic on Sands Road north of Branchview Court came from trucks capable of hauling more than 5 tons.

“This one will see the light of day,” Johnston said. “A traffic study has been done, I think that shows the commitment of the county.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement